Syracuse 15 – Duke 14: The Orange avoid a late game slide, grabbing a signature win in Durham

The Syracuse Orange went in to Durham, NC and took down the Duke Blue Devils 15-14 on Saturday.

So first off, SU is now guaranteed a spot in the ACC Tournament. The best result for UVA would be a 2-2 ACC record while the worst result for SU would be a 2-2 ACC record, yet the ‘Cuse would hold the tie breaker. So congrats, the Orange will get at least one post-season game this year.

Now on to Saturday.

With 11:10 to go in the third period the Orange owned a 10-7 lead, the biggest lead of the day for either team. Duke, however would score six of the next seven goals, leaving SU down 13-11 with 9:07 to go in the game. It was quite a flip, and a pattern that ‘Cuse fans have grown used to with this team.

However, with 4:49 left in regulation and down by two, Nate Solomon picked his team up. Solomon, just below gle, came up and swam his defender bypassing him without any trouble getting free in front of the cage and pulling SU within one. Just 45 seconds later Solomon drew the double as he traveled behind cage and split it with ease getting free to come up and around the cage and get a pass off to Brendan Bomberry for the equalizer as he elevated parallel to Solomon on the opposite side of the crease. Solomon, who had been quiet up until this point, made his mark when his team needed him the most.

Two minutes later it was Brendan Curry ball handling and finding Bomberry on a skip pass to the opposite side for a deep bomb to put SU up 14-13. Off of the faceoff Bomberry had a second opportunity in an unsettled situation. He took the shot as he approached the crease unguarded but sent it high to high right into the mesh of Duke goaltender Danny Fowler. Fowler hit the gas and pushed the fast break in which the Blue Devils eventually found Joe Robertson for the goal to tie it up at 14.

For the second year in a row, the winning goal fell into the hands of Jamie Trimboli. Last year it was in overtime and today it was off a fluky play. With 1:14 to go and the score tied at 14, Solomon sent a pass to Tucker Dordevic in the interior but the freshman couldn’t hang on. The ball was tipped by Dordevic’s stick and bounced off the turf where a cutting Jamie Trimboli snagged it and buried the game winner. Nothing like being in the right place at the right time.

Lot to unpack in this game. First off, let’s start with the faceoffs. Syracuse got demolished again going 12 for 30 at the X. Seth Delisle went four of eight while Danny Varello had two of 12. It was so bad that Syracuse even gave seven takes to freshman Jakob Phaub, but newbie only was able to win one. The good news is that Nick Martin got the final five faceoffs and took all five. He’s a redshirt sophomore from Michigan and if I’m on staff I give him some time next week. This kid basically won you the game at the end. That’s why you have to be ready when you get tapped.

There were nine goal scorers today, but Brendan Bomberry topped them all with four goals on seven shots, and he also had two of the final three goals.

I said before the game, SU has to put up more than 20 shots on goal to have a shot in this thing. My unofficial count right now is 28 shots on net for the Orange, which would be the second most this season behind the 34 in the Binghamton game.

Defensively, I thought the man-down unit played superb, as they have for most of the year. That being said, the reasoning for all the man-down time was disconcerting. I understand Tyson Bomberry is just getting back in the groove of things but he took home three minutes of penalties today. The first was an unnecessary roughness, targeting the head call and the second was a cross-check to the neck. As well as the defense played today, they really dumbed it up on some stupid penalties. I will give a ton of credit to Nick Mellen to holding Justin Guterding to just one goal. He’s coming off of a mediocre showing against Rutgers but he really bounced back. We didn’t see as many of the easy crease-side goals like we saw last week.

Overall, great game. The young guys are really stepping up. If this team can find a faceoff guy and another good goalie (Madonna graduates this year), next season is looking very bright. For now though, ACC Tournament is in hand and the odds of making it to the NCAA Tournament just got a lot better.

Enjoy the weekend.

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